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Chiropractic Pediatrics

Enclosed are scientific references to allow you to make more informed health care decisions. Please share them with your family and friends.

Table of Contents

  • Aspirin, Acetaminophen May Prolong the Flu
  • Children Under Chiropractic Care Recover Faster
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Chiropractic Care for Newborns and Toddlers
  • Colic and Chiropractic Treatment
  • Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease
  • How Do Children Develop Spinal Problems So Early in Life
  • Infantile Fevers
  • Many Parents Don't Know Cold Facts
  • One Ear Tube Surgery is Not Always the Last

Aspirin, Acetaminophen May Prolong the Flu

aspirin pillsThe above is the title of an article on the web site from Dec. 06, 2000 Reuters Health Information. The article reports on research by Karen I. Plaisance, MD; Philip A. Mackowiak, MD published in the Achieves of Internal Medicine. The essence of the article states that taking aspirin or similar drugs to decrease a fever will increase the duration of the Flu.

For many years common practice was to treat the fever of a Flu by taking aspirin and reducing the fever. This new research has confirmed what chiropractors and others have been saying for years. Fever is a defense mechanism designed to help the immune system by raising body temperature.

The article was a review of several studies. In this article it was revealed that flu sufferers who took one of the anti-fever medications such as aspirin, were sick an average of 3.5 days longer than people who did not take any of the drugs.

According to coauthor, Dr. Karen I. Plaisance, "The extra sick days may be an acceptable trade-off for the relief they get from such medications". She continued, "Depending on what it is you have to get done ... you may be willing to take that. Some busy people would rather be somewhat sick for a longer time than be nearly wiped out for a shorter period."

According to the report, the investigators found that anti-fever drugs such as aspirin or Tylenol, prolonged the duration of the flu. On average, flu symptoms lasted 5.3 days in participants who did not take aspirin or acetaminophen, compared with 8.8 days in people who took the anti-fever drugs. Even an analysis that took into account the severity of illness, the use of anti-fever drugs was still linked to longer-lasting illness.

According to the authors the mechanism that links the drugs to prolonged flu symptoms is unclear. However, they do mention the possibility that reducing fever may interfere with the immune system responses to an infection. In other studies on reducing fever, similar findings were reported in cases of chickenpox.

The underlying message of these studies should suggest that interfering with the defense mechanisms of the body, such as fever, may reduce some symptoms but will prolong the time the body needs to fight off infections and illness.

Children under Chiropractic Care Recover Faster, Have Fewer Ear Infections

The October 1997 issue of the Journal of Chiropractic Pediatrics reports that a study involving 223 children with Otitis media (ear infections) found that not only did the children under chiropractic care recover faster; they had fewer instances of recurrent ear infections.

The study, which compared the recovery rates of children under standard medical care and those under chiropractic care, concluded that "The results indicated that there is a strong correlation between the chiropractic adjustment and the resolution of Otitis media for the children in this study."

The study also found that the chiropractic patient's cases were resolved at a considerably less cost than the average per case with medical care.

Once again, we see research proving that chiropractic is more than just a good way to alleviate back pain. Chiropractic is the best way for your entire family to get and stay as healthy as possible. Nature doesn't need any help; it just doesn't need any interference.


Thousands of infants, children and adolescents benefit from the fruits of regular chiropractic care everyday. Chiropractic has become much more than an effective treatment for adult back pain. It has become a safe, effective health resource for all members of the family. Relief from pain, correction of neuromusculoskeletal conditions and overall health optimization for all ages is what chiropractic can provide.

In addition to providing safe, effective treatment for back pain, scoliosis, headaches and the more obvious "chiropractically responsive" treatments in the young, we can also provide effective care for many other conditions. Common childhood conditions such as ear infections, asthma and infantile colic - to name a few - have been shown to respond favorably to chiropractic treatments (see "Common Ailments").

Chiropractic is a holistic approach to the treatment and management of health conditions. Chiropractic care encompasses a wide variety of safe, natural and noninvasive treatments. This includes chiropractic spinal adjustments, exercise and stretching programs, diet and nutritional counseling, soft tissue techniques, to name a few. In experienced hands, chiropractic care can provide your infant, child or adolescent with a lifetime of health and happiness.

We invite you to browse through the links and learn how chiropractic care may increase the health of your child. From scoliosis to back pain, ear infections to infantile colic, chiropractors are leading the way in the natural and safe treatment of common childhood ailments. If you have additional questions, be sure to contact our office to speak with the doctor personally or schedule an appointment.

Chiropractic Care for Newborns and Toddlers

All newborn children and toddlers should be examined for any spinal changes – EVEN IF THEY DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. Every patient is different and chiropractic spinal corrections are always tailored to each child's age, strength, size and individual spinal problems. Naturally the spinal corrective techniques are modified for newborns, infants and small children.

Babies should be checked at birth so that they can sleep comfortably and feed correctly: to minimize gastric reflux and colic. In the infant, learning to hold up the head, sitting and crawling are all important activities that affect spinal development.

Colic and Chiropractic Treatment

baby with colic

If you have a colicky baby, and other forms of treatment don't seem to be helping very much, you may want to investigate taking your baby to a chiropractor.

As your child is being born, the neck and back vertebrae can go out of alignment due to the stretching and compressing of the body as it emerges into the world. If your delivery included a prolonged pushing stage, forceps or vacuum extraction, or other form of assisted delivery, the chances of a misalignment are great.

If the misalignments, called vertebral subluxations, are big enough, the functioning of major systems in the body can be compromised. The digestive system can be affected and ineffective digestion of breast milk and formula can cause major discomfort in your baby, leading to colic episodes.

Many parents are wary of taking their small, helpless babies to see a chiropractor. The main reason being the "Snap, Crackle and Pop" stereotype that chiropractic invokes.

In actuality, the adjustment that a chiropractor will do on your baby is basically applying gently pressure with the finger to areas on the neck and back. You may see your baby totally relax before your eyes as the misalignments are corrected.

As with selecting any health care provider, you need to ask questions first. In this case, "Have you adjusted other infants?" would be most important. Ask for referrals that you can contact if you are unsure.

Gastro esophageal reflux disease

By Dr. Howard Loomis

The sale of antacids and proton pump inhibitors now exceeds $12.9 billion dollars a year. Television advertising continually warns us of the danger of excess stomach acid eroding the mucous lining of the stomach and possibly leading to cancer.

A fairly significant portion of your patients have problems associated with diet, digestion, and bowel function.

Chiropractors should be aware that they are uniquely suited to specialize in diagnosing potential problems in these areas and preventing the catastrophic problems pharmaceutical companies are advertising to scare Americans into using drugs. These drugs retard digestion and do nothing to correct dysfunction and restore normal function.

The problem:

There is a fundamental problem with labeling digestive symptoms as a disease. First, symptoms do not make a disease. As I will discuss below, indigestion is a syndrome or collection of symptoms for which prescription drugs are routinely prescribed without objective verification that an actual pathological condition exists. This presents a significant problem for you and your patients because normal function cannot be maintained or restored with drugs, regardless if they are recreational, prescription, or over‑the‑counter.

Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a structural problem that allows stomach contents to back up through the cardiac valve that separates the esophagus and the stomach. Obviously, the problem can be localized to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), but dysfunction here can represent several different structural problems as well as biochemical deficiencies. For chiropractors, several different subluxation patterns may be presented by patients suffering from identical symptom patterns.

How Do Children Develop Spinal Problems So Early In Life?

In children and newborns, a common cause of neck injury is birth trauma, especially during precipitous delivery, prematurely, breech delivery, and forceful traction or forceps births. (Journal of Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 1969) Even during the gentlest of births, presentation of the baby's head through the birth canal requires physical pressure exerted by the mother, possibly forcing the baby's neck to twist or bend. Often during the delivery, the practitioner will pull or twist the head to assist with the delivery, compounding the problem.

As children grow older, the inevitable tumbles and falls of childhood increase the risk of injury to the upper cervical spine. Injuries can also occur as children begin sports such as gymnastics, soccer, skiing, or bike riding. As a result of neck injuries, children can experience many symptoms besides headaches, such as neck pain, back pain, chronic infections, irritability, and hyperactivity, to name a few. The proper correction of the child's neck injury can improve or eliminate many of the above named symptoms.

Infantile Fevers: A Chiropractic Perspective

Fevers are a common symptom in childhood. Many parents are frightened when their child has a fever, when in fact; it is one of the most powerful defense mechanisms we have against disease and infection. It is widely known that a fever activates the child's immune system. In many cases a fever actually strengthens the immune system and helps to prevent susceptibility to other illnesses later in life. Dr. Uwe Stave, medical pediatrician, states, "Fever attacks can affect children in quite a positive way. Even though his physical strength is reduced, the child may disclose a wealth of new interests and skills. After a fever, the child reveals a spurt of development and maturation."

George Wootan, M.D., author of Pediatrics: A Course For Parents, reports that the height of fever has nothing to do with the severity of the disease. He states that the child's body will regulate his inner temperate as needed. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, taught that a fever was a helpful body response to disease and infection.

The fever process works like this: the child develops an infection, and their body responds by making additional leukocytes. These cells fight the infection by destroying the bacteria and viruses and then remove the dead tissue. The activity level of the white cells is also increased as they move rapidly to the site of the infection. This is called leucotaxis, and is activated by the release of pyrogens that raise the body temperature. Metabolic rate and oxygen consumption increases. As the body's temperature increases, it simply means that the process of healing is speeding up. Also, iron which is needed by the bacteria to survive is removed from the blood and stored in the liver. This reduces the rate at which the bacteria multiply. As this whole process of defense in the body progresses a substance called interferon becomes more effective and aids in the fight of the infection. Because the body regulates a fever, it rarely, if ever, reaches a level that would be hazardous to the child.

Chiropractors should be aware that the tendency for many parents is to suppress any fever with a drug, usually an antibiotic and/or aspirin. However recent studies show that this may not be in the best interest of the developing child. In diseases such as chicken pox or influenza, if the child is given aspirin, a deadly form of Reye's syndrome may result. Because of this the centers for Disease control and the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics now warn against giving aspirin to children. There are other ways to safely suppress a fever. But when a fever is artificially suppressed by any method, the body's defense system is not activated.

It is interesting to note that in Pediatrics Infectious Disease Journal, the use of antibiotic therapy was evaluated in the treatment of strep throat, and ear infections. These researchers compared two groups in which the first one was given the antibiotic immediately after the symptoms occurred and the other group received delayed treatment or not al all. In the immediately treated group the symptoms lessened (fever, sore throat, painful swallowing, headache, abdominal pain, swollen glands, lethargy, irritability, and loss of appetite) and recovery time was reduced. But when the treatment was delayed, there were fewer recurrent episodes of strep throat and ear infections. Over a four-month period, the children who were given the antibiotic immediately when the symptoms first occurred experienced two and a half times more bouts of strep throat. Similar results were reported for ear infections when treated immediately; those that received antibiotics immediately had more ear infections than those with delayed treatment or not treated at all. The researchers concluded that when antibiotics were delayed or not give, the child was able to build a natural immunity.

Studies have shown that vertebral subluxations may interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature. It is normal for body temperatures to vary throughout the day and night. The high temperatures occur at night and the lows in the early morning. Children exhibit more variation than adults. The average temperature for most people is 98.6. This is an average and most people are higher or lower than that. This is especially true for children. Normal variations in temperature range from a low of 96.6 degrees to high of 99.4. A child's temperature may also vary at times of the day and change with activity. This is normal and does not mean that the child is ill.

Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medical pediatrician states, "When the body temperature is elevated due to a cold and influenza it may generate a fever up to 105 degrees, but even at that level it is not a legitimate cause for alarm." Dr. Mendelsohn states that, "More important in determining whether a fever is the result of a mild infection like a common cold, or a more serious one such as meningitis, is the overall appearance, behavior, and attitude of the child."

If the fever reaches the child's particular threshold for convulsions, it may result in a febrile seizure. Dr. Alvin Eden, states that a "simple febrile seizure" is a convulsion, which is caused by the high body temperature. Its etiology is an infection in the body, which does not primarily involve the brain. He states that by definition a child who has a seizure during a high fever does not have epilepsy. Fr. Alvin Eden further states that simple febrile seizures do not lead to mental retardation. What usually happens is the child begins to twitch and then shakes all over. They may lose consciousness; their eyes roll back and many times will foam from the mouth. Dr. Alvin N. Eden suggests that the parent remain calm that these simple febrile convulsions rarely last longer than five minutes and stop by themselves without treatment. After it is over the child usually goes to sleep and when he/she wakes up, is fine. Dr. Eden states, "The first time a parent experiences a seizure with a child is almost always frightening, but no permanent damage results and the baby will be fine." The fever activates the immune system in a natural way, and can actually strengthen the child's immune system. This process helps to prevent susceptibility to other diseases later in life. Most children never have a febrile seizure.

The chiropractor who helps the parent to understand that a fever is a natural, necessary part of healing and not a disease or sickness in and of itself does the child a great service. A fever should be monitored and not suppressed unnecessarily. The fever should be allowed to activate the child's immune system. This will give him/her the best opportunity to fight off future infections. The child's room should be comfortable with plenty of fresh air. Encourage the parent to dress the child in cotton so that his/her skin may breathe and perspiration will be drawn away from his body. Fevers commonly cause the child to lose a significant amount of fluid. This may lead to dehydration, and to avert this process have the child drink plenty of fluids, about eight ounces an hour. Do not allow the child to become cold, shivering may occur, which will increase muscular activity and in turn increase the body temperature. Instruct the parent to spend extra time sitting with their feverish child reading or talking quietly.

Any child suffering with a fever should be carefully analyzed for vertebral subluxations that may be interfering with the body's ability to regulate the temperature. Once the child is correctly adjusted the fever will usually regulate within 24 hours, if the rise was do to subluxations.

Many Parents Don't Know Cold Facts

The above is the title from an article which appeared in the February 3, 2003 issue of WebMD. The article reported on a survey from Children's Hospital, Boston, and was published in the American Academy of Pediatrics February issue of the journal, "Pediatrics." The study noted that in 1998 colds accounted for 1.6 million emergency room visits and 25 million ambulatory visits by both children and adults. They also noted that most colds are caused by viruses and do not require any medical intervention. In spite of this they noted that many families seek medical care for the treatment of colds. The objective of this study was to determine if parental misconceptions about the cause and appropriate treatment of colds may contribute to unnecessary medical services.

The results of the survey revealed some common misconceptions parents have about colds. Although 93% of parents understood that viruses caused colds, 66% of parents also believed that colds were caused by bacteria. Additionally, 53% believed that antibiotics were needed to treat colds. The article noted that both these concepts are false yet they are common beliefs among parents. The survey also revealed that parents said if their child had a cold, 23% of them said they'd go to an emergency room and 60% said they'd go to their doctor's office.

In response the American Academy of Pediatrics issued some common sense advice to parents who have children with colds. That advice included the following:

  • Don't give antibiotics -- they won't work. Neither will most over-the-counter cold medicines.
  • Don't give aspirin to a child with a fever. It can cause an uncommon but serious reaction called Reye's syndrome.

The researchers themselves concluded that there are vast misconceptions about the appropriate treatment of colds, and that these misconceptions cause an increase in health service utilization. Their suggestion for correcting this problem was increased specific educational interventions for families. It is their hope that such education may reduce inappropriate antibiotic-seeking behavior and unnecessary medical care for colds.

One Ear Tube Surgery Is Not Always the Last Surgery

From the March 2003 issue of Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery we find out that one in five children who get ear tube surgery to treat chronic ear infections may require a second surgery within two to five years. Dr. Mark Boston and colleagues at Eastern Virginia Medical School studied 2,121 children who received a set of bilateral myringotomy tubes. The researchers found that 423 (19.9%) of the children required a second set of Tubes within two years. Children 18 months or younger at the time of their first surgery were much more likely (26.9%) to require a second set of tubes.